Video on Ayawaso violence was doctored – National Security
Colonel Michael Kwadwo Opoku, National Security Director of Operations on Wednesday disputed the credibility of video scenes on the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence.
Testifying before the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission of Inquiry, Col Opoku said the video, which some media houses produced to the Commission were doctored.
He made the claim after viewing the video during the Commission’s sitting at the Christiansburg Castle, Osu, Accra.
Asked by Mr Eric Osei-Mensah, Counsel of the Commission, whether he had seen the video on the violence, Col Opoku replied that “I have seen it, but not in this sequence. The previous ones I watched, we can watch it again. The Immigration officer was moving when I think Honourable Sam George was slapped, but in this situation, the reporter said a different thing altogether.
“I have watched the video, and this video doesn’t follow the sequences of events as on the first day. If anybody, can get the first day video, you will see that this one is a doctored video.”
He said the video was not the true reflection of what happened on the ground, adding that the media needed to be cautious in their reportage.
Col Opoku promised to produce to the Commission the videotape he had in possession on the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence.
He told the Commission that based on intelligence information that weapons were being stored in a certain house within the Constituency, the National Security on the Day of the by-election dispatched a team of 60 security personnel on a confidence-building patrol.
The purpose of the confidence building, he said was to let the people know that they were ready to protect them and foil any violence and the team was made up of 25 police officers from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team of the National Security.
The SWAT he said was under Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu and 35 civilian operatives.
He said, he issued an operational plan to the team, which was in a convoy of 10 vehicles stating that the National Security had also deployed its task force all over the ground and three locations that were under their surveillance were; the house in question, the EllKing Hotel and the Skills Training Centre at Okponglo.
He said that day, he had a call from someone that there were some gunshots around Bawaleshie stating that as result he had to call the SWAT Commander to find out what was happening.
He said DSP Azugu informed him that nine people had been arrested and that they were being taken to the East Legon Police Station.
He said within some minutes, the Minister of National Security called him to find out what was happening, which was also followed by another call from the Minister of State in-charge of National Security on the same purpose.
He said, he informed the two ministers that there was a problem at La-Bawaleshie but full details were not yet at his end.
He said following the outbreak of the violence at La-Bawaleshie, DSP Azugu did the right thing by aborting the mission, in order to prevent the situation from escalating.
Col Opoku however, did not agree with DSP Azugu’s submission to the Commission on Monday that his men wore the mask for protection from mosquitoes.
The Director of Operations said their personnel wore masks to protect their identities since some of them lived within the Constituency in which they were deployed to carry out the operation.
Mr Francis Emile Short, the Chairman of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission of Inquiry, who discharged Col Opoku, asked him to reappear before the Commission on Monday, February 25 at 1000 hours for cross-examination.
Another witness, who appeared at the Commission’s fifth sitting was Mr Delali Kwesi Brempong, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate in the bye-election.
He told the Commission that at the time of the outbreak of the violence at his residence, he was away to monitor some polling stations.
He said it was his son, who called him on the mobile phone to inform him that some men in brown trousers and black t-shirts were in front of his house and that there had been some gunshots.
Mr Brempong said when he got to the scene in front of his house, he saw blood on the ground and 15 bullet marks on trees, (metal) containers and vehicles.
He told the Commission that he had no weapons in his house; declaring that his house was not a warehouse.
He noted however that his son sometimes stored caustic soda in their garage.
Mr Short said as part of their investigations, the Commission would be visiting Mr Brempong’s house to observe things for themselves.